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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37841
Experience:  Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
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Hello, I am a single female renting a home through a rental

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I am a single female renting a home through a rental agency. Twice now the actual owner of the home has shown up (or sent friends) without any notice. Once I was home alone in the evening and two men knocked on my door. When I didn't answer they proceeded to walk into my backyard and unlock the padlock to my shed. When I went to see what was going on they said they were friends of the owner. They mentioned to him that the grass was getting long so he told them to come over and take care of it. (The yard is my responsibility in the rental agreement) Then yesterday he showed up at my front door with 5 of his buddies. I felt frighted and intimidated. I feel I'm entitled to some compensation, but when I complained to the rental agency all they did was apologize. They seemed quite unconcerned. Really, though, its a breach in the rental agreement. As well as Oregon State Law ORS 90.322.

What question may I "justanswer" for you concerning your circumstances, this evening?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well what can I do from here? What are the chances of me getting some kind of compensation in court? Are there better steps to take before going to small claims court?

Thank you for the question.

At common law, the landlord is committing a trespass. Damages for trespass include any actual damage to land, plus damages for the invasion of the possessor's property rights. This can include punitive damages.

The problem with all of this is that a trespass action does not permit prevailing party attorney's fees. So, if you sue in circuit rather than small claims court, your recover could be completely overwhelmed by the cost of your attorney.

ORS 90.322 provides damages in the amount of one month's rent for each unlawful entry. Since small claims provides up to a $10,000 damage recovery, you could actually get a fair amount of money, depending upon the amount of your rent and the number of charges you make against the landlord.

In my view, you may want to contact a local attorney and have a demand letter written. The idea would be to entirely avoid any court action and get sufficient damages to dissuade the landlord from bothering you further. If that doesn't work, then I would seriously consider the small claims route before trying to bring a circuit court action. I just don't think you will be able to amass sufficient damages to make hiring a lawyer and actually suing in circuit court a viable alternative.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
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